Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Green Bean Casserole

I must admit that green bean casserole did not grace my plate until I finally joined the grown-up club. Now I wouldn't pass it up. This is a fairly simple recipe, and it would be easy to add your own touch if you so desire.

Green Bean Casserole

4 cups of non-dairy cream of mushroom soup (I used Imagine Creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup)
2 lbs. harticort vert green beans
6 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)
3 tbsp. corn starch
1 8 oz. can of fried onions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut or snap off ends of green beans and steam. While steaming green beans, sautee garlic in canola oil. Mix together with cream of mushroom soup, almonds, and corn starch.

Layer the green beans into a well sprayed 9 x 13 casserole dish. Sprinkle with fried onions. Bake 20 minutes, and then cover with foil. Bake another 30-40 minutes until the casserole is set (doesn't slosh too much in pan).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Squash Casserole

Since it was my first year cooking the majority of the meal, I needed to veganize my family's classic Thanksgiving recipes. One of my hubby's favorites is squash casserole. This one is topped with ritz crackers, but it has also been done with potato chips.

I love making recipes for vegans and people with allergies. While the recipe typically has dairy and eggs, this one is dairy-free, egg-free, and soy-free.

Squash Casserole

3 cups cooked and strained yellow squash
1 can of cream of corn or creamy butternut squash (equivalent of 2 cups)
2 cups grated soy-free cheese (I used Cheezly soy-free cheddar)
3 Tbsp. corn starch
1 medium onion sauteed
1.5 cups crushed crackers or potato chips (note: ritz crackers ARE NOT soy-free)
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. First steam the squash until well cooked. While it is steaming, chop and sautee the onion in oil. Next put steamed squash into a strainer and press excess water out. In a mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients (except cracker crumbs).

Spray a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish liberally with oil. Add mixture from bowl and press into pan. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs or potato chips. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until golden, and then cover with foil for the remainder of baking time. Total bake time is 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven when set (ie doesn't slosh around in pan).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Another Very Vegan Thanksgiving

Our threshold was where our family gathered again this year for Thanksgiving. Now that my wee ones are getting older, I decided to take the majority of cooking on. 

This year I made tofurky, a field roast, squash casserole, maple roasted baby carrots, green bean casserole, roasted butternut squash, stuffing, homemade mashed potatoes, gravy, and pecan pie. 

My mom brought a sweet potato casserole, my mother-in-law fruit salad, and my sister cranberry sauce. Our family won't need to cook anything for the remainder of the weekend. Woohoo!

It must be noted that both of my parents went back for seconds on the tofurky.. That speaks volumes to their enjoying it. We tried it many years back and didn't care for it. Either it has been improved or our method was better this time, either way it'll be making a regular appearance now.

Tomorrow is my hubby's birthday, so we'll be picking up food from his favorite local restaurant Evergreen Chinese Restaurant. We're baking him a delicious cake tomorrow, and the kid's have a surprise for him. I'll also start getting recipes posted from our tasty holiday dinner. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Seed Mania: Home Roasted Sunflower Seeds

I've started to feel like a furry little mouse preparing for the winter with all the seeds we've been roasting and noshing on around here. Maybe I was a little brown mouse in a former life.

My friend Melody was so kind to give us one of the mammoth sunflower seed heads she grew last summer. Seeds have already been set aside to grow some ourselves next year. I think the flower head ripe with seeds is beautiful in itself, don't you?

Things were crazy busy these past few month with starting work, mofo, and both kids starting school. Finally some time to soak and roast these!

Roasted Sunflower Seeds

3 cups of sunflower seeds
canola spray
salted water for soaking (1/2 cup salt per quart of water)

First you need to allow the seeds to properly dry out. I left ours out for a few weeks, to be sure they would be sufficiently dried out. They come out of the seed head much easier too.

Next I soaked them in salt water for 48 hours. I used 1/2 cup salt for a quart of water. The soaking for a longer period make the shells softer and easier to eat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly spray a baking sheet. Roast in oven for 25-30 minutes.

Place them into an air tight container to enjoy for some time. Please note soaking them in the salt sufficiently flavors them and there is no need to salt again before roasting.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Well I still had leftover pumpkin in my fridge screaming to be made into something delicious. The kids decided it would be cookies. These are a bit more soft and cakey than the traditional style cookie. If you bake them until the edges are a little crunchy, the result is really nice.

I tried to make a swirled cookie version (see above), but need to play with the recipe more before sharing it. The swirled ones I tried were an epic fail. The pictured one is the single one that made it off the pan, due to the filling sticking to the pan.

Luckily, the cookie recipe itself was not! Once I get the swirl recipe worked out, I'll post it.

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

1 and 1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1 and 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 - 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (less is more subtle, and more a spice explosion)
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
2 "egg" replacer equivalents

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit First cream together the sugars and margarine. Then add vanilla, spices, baking soda, and pumpkin, then mix well. Lastly, add the flour and combine. Please see below for swirl cookie directions, or continue for other kinds. Once mixed, spoon one Tbsp. onto the cookie sheet an inch and a half apart. Bake 10-13 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Easy Pumpkin Spice Pancakes with Pecan Butter Whipped Creme Topping

If you've got house guests who you need to feed this upcoming holidays, here's a delicious recipe for breakfast. You won't spend all morning in the kitchen preparing it either. Bonus!

While both types of Bisquick are vegan, one has trans fats that our family avoids. The Heart Smart Bisquick is the type I recommend. It also makes some really tasty biscuits, which I plan to post.

Bisquick Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

2 1/2 cups Bisquick
1 3/4 cup almond milk
2 tsp. pumpkin spice mix
1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Whisk together all the ingredients until just combined. Turn on non-stick skillet or griddle to medium heat.

Once it is warm, pour batter into pan to create the size pancakes you prefer. They will start to bubble and look cooked around the edge when ready to flip. Cook on other side until golden brown. Remove and serve hot.

I REALLY recommend making Pecan Butter Whipped Creme Topping to put on the pancakes, but if you are pressed for time maple syrup will do just fine.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Easy Pumpkin Pie Bites with Pecan Butter Creme Topping

If you've been around on my blog awhile, it is clear I've got a bit of a sweet tooth. Even still, I like to come up with delicious treats which can be enjoyed without adding to that holiday weight surplus so many of us gain.

These little two bite goodies are just the thing to get a sweet shot without going overboard. They are pretty easy to make with a food processor, but should work well in a blender as well.

Whipped Pecan Butter Creme Topping
1 package of vegan whipped cream (I used Soyatoo Whipped Topping)
1/2 cup pecan butter

First add whipped topping into a mixing bowl or blender/food processor and whip until thick and creamy. Next add the pecan butter and cream for 5 minutes. Place the pecan creme into the fridge to set overnight.

Pumpkin Pie Bites or Mini Pumpkin Pies
2 packages of mini phyllo shells or 6 mini pie shells or make your own
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup silken tofu
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine pumpkin puree, silken tofu, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar in mixing bowl/blender/food processor. Mix until creamy and smooth.

Put mini fillo shells or mini pie crusts onto cookie sheet spaced so they are not touching. Spoon one tablespoon (or until almost full) into shells. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until edges are golden brown and pie is set for fillo shells or 18-20 minutes for mini pie crusts.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Place whipped pecan topping into a piping bag and swirl a layer onto the pumpkin bites or mini pies. Add a small pecan for garnish. For the pecan bites I broke then pecans in half for garnish.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Roasted Spiced Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

You can never go wrong with simply roasting pumpkin seeds lightly oiled and salted. This time I wanted to take a sweet version for a spin, and oh, how sweet it was!

If you are looking for perfect blend of sweet and savoury, this should hit the spot.

Since you don't always know how much you'll get for a pumpkin seeds, I provided the amount needed for each 1/2 cup of seeds. For example, if you have 1 1/2 cups, you should triple the recipe.

Spiced Sugared Pumpkin Seeds

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp. Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1Tbsp. natural sugar (larger sugar crystals)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Thoroughly wash off pumpkin seeds in colander, and allow to air dry or pat dry. Melt margarine in microwave, and then toss the seeds to coat them with it.

Spread out evenly on a cookie sheet, then sprinkle spiced sugar over the seeds. Roast in oven for 10-15 minutes or until they are crunchy and start to turn golden brown.